Not only does this race offer worldwide marketing exposure for Cape Town and boost its profile as a top leisure and events destination, but it also provides a valuable boost for the many local industries through both visitor and organiser spend.
Global television viewing figures indicate that the Volvo Ocean Yacht Race – considered the world’s premier offshore sailing event – is now number three after the Olympic Games and Soccer World Cup. International yacht racing has become a feature of maritime Cape Town with the Clipper, Lipton and Cape to Rio Yacht races all coming to Cape Town as a stopover and race venue.
This is the eighth time the race has come to Cape Town. The last visit, in 2008, resulted in a direct economic impact of close to R308 million, while Cape Town got worldwide media exposure valued at R77 million. Over 30 000 tourists linked to the race stayed in Cape Town.
This year, R16.2 million was budgeted for the stopover, and the City of Cape Town contributed R1.5 million towards investment promotion events, branding, marketing costs, and funding volunteers.
“Over the years the importance and significance for Cape Town of being a stopover port has been greatly valued, especially by the tourism and related sectors,” said Cllr Grant Pascoe, Mayoral Committee Member: Tourism Events Marketing.
“What the City has done is to see how we can leverage the stopover, especially for smaller local businesses.”
For instance, the City bought space in the race village at the VA Waterfront, where a marquee was set up at the entrance in which 12 local crafters were given the opportunity to gain important exposure to a new international market. This was done in conjunction with the Cape Craft and Design Institute in order to ensure innovative, quality products representing culture and diversity.
The hospitality industry has reaped the rewards of the extra visitors, and the local boating industry has benefited from the extra work.
“The benefits to the boat building industry are direct and indirect. Working on repair projects in collaboration with some of the Volvo Ocean Race technical experts also offers opportunity for skills transfer,” said Vanessa Davidson, Skills Development Facilitator at the Cape Town Boat Building Initiative.
She used the example of Team Sanya’s boat, which was damaged just a day after leaving Spain. Skipper Mike Sanderson decided to repair the boat in Cape Town, contacting local boat builder Uwe Jespersen from Jaz Marine, who had assisted him on a previous race. Using Jaz Marine’s facilities and the expertise of other companies, the team fashioned a new component and fitted it at the Waterfront.
“Indirectly, a significant benefit is the heightened local awareness of boating and sailing. The Try Sail programme offers non-sailors an opportunity to get a feel for sailing. The Youth Academy Team Racing promotes youth sailing and in the long term, the more people who are passionate about boating and sailing, the more boats we will build locally to satisfy that need.”
Four City departments – Sport, Recreation Amenities; Economic Development; Communication Marketing, and Tourism – were involved in hosting the event.
Local communities also reaped the benefits, through volunteer programmes, internships, community days and the craft exhibition.
About 20 high school pupils from Mitchells Plain were taken on a tour of the race village and went for a cruise on the DHL Speed of Yellow yacht, as part of a Development Day. This was the first time most of them had been out on the water. The VOR Sailing Academy Road Show has 20 small craft, three large craft and 18 windsurfers.
e Race Village features daily events and is open from 09:00 to 21:00 each day until Sunday 11 December, when the yachts depart for Abu Dhabi.
Next: Sunday Open Thread